Campus, News

New university initiative announced to academic senate

The Academic Senate gathered Thursday for the first time in over a month to hear President Jane Close Conoley announce her new initiative “Beach 2030: Building our future on changing tides,” which is set to begin fall of 2018.

The initiative aims to gather community input to plan for the future of the campus. The university plans to do this through conducting a series of workshops and by using an online platform called Foresight Engine for community residents. The end result is to create a framework focusing on mental health and poverty challenges for students, ways to combat dwindling funding in the Cal State University system, and work on increasing affordable housing options for Long Beach.

According to the Beach 2030 FAQ, “unrelenting advances in technologies —  from machine learning to virtual and augmented reality and even bio-programming —  require us to rethink not only what skills everyone will need…but also how they can best acquire them.”

During the announcement, Conoley stressed the importance of involving the Long Beach community in order for the program to be successful.

“It will be a very broad, inclusive process — faculty, staff, students, alums [and] other stakeholders, Conoley said. “My top goal is that all of us will exit from the process with an appreciation of how to be better at reading the signals that surround us, in terms of requirements for change.”

Conoley explained that the university has paired with Institute for the Future, a nonprofit organization. Together with the institute, Cal State Long Beach plans to host multiple workshops and an online forum during the upcoming fall semester that are aimed at encouraging cooperation from the campus community.  

Dan O’Connor, associate dean for the college of liberal arts, explained that the online forum for Beach 2030 will grant accessibility to anyone who wishes to contribute their thoughts and opinions, but that the resource will be monitored for safety.

“There will be a big event with an online component that will provide access to basically everyone in the world to comment on this,” O’Connor said. “We want to try to reach as many students [as possible]. We want to talk to the faculty about allowing [students] time to go on the engine and contribute their thoughts about the future of the university. There will be many activities in many ways for everybody to contribute.”

The program will be open to both faculty and students who want to participate. For more information, visit www.itft.org.

This story was updated on April 9 at 4 p.m. Dan O’Connor is the associate dean for the college of liberal arts.

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